Don’t you think it’s funny how when you were a little kid it was the most exciting thing in the world to receive mail and now as an adult, you hate getting the mail? Kids get birthday cards containing money or party invitations in the mail. Adults get junk mail and bills, bills, bills. No wonder I hate getting the mail!
Organizing finances can be difficult and unpleasant. In my opinion, it’s one of the hardest (if not the hardest) part of becoming a responsible adult. I mean really, who actually enjoys spending the entire afternoon on hold with an insurance company? Yuck!
Thanks to technology, there is the option of having some of your bills paid by automatic withdraw, which makes paying bills completely out of sight out of mind. Convenient: most definitely! However, it is also easier to lose track of how you’re spending your money, or how much money is in your bank account at any given time.
I see a lot of people that have no clue how to get their finances in order. I see some people who really would like to do a better job of saving their money or being responsible with it, but they aren’t sure how or where to start.
The first step is realizing where your money is going and when it is being withdrawn. A few months ago I created a spreadsheet that will help with this step.
Bills come in the mail every week. We always paid them and mailed them right back without thinking when the next bill would be coming. My husband and I have two credit cards. On one credit card we put all our gas and monthly bills (such as Netflix, the internet, and natural gas), on the other we put all our groceries and other store purchases.
It just so happens to work out that these two credit card bills come in the mail within one to two days of each other every month. It wasn’t really that big of a deal for us but for some reason, it was always kind of a surprise to receive two big bills back to back. You would think after a few months we would start to see the pattern.
Finally, my husband asked me if I would keep track by making a mark on the calendar of what day each bill showed up. Well, that didn’t sound like the best system for me, so I created a spreadsheet.
It works great to help us know approximately what day of the month each bill will show up, or automatically be withdrawn. It’s also great to see on average how much we put on each credit card, or if a bill (such as electric) is higher or lower than the month before. I keep this list inside our file cabinet, and every time I pay a bill I fill in the spreadsheet.
I’m not a financial expert, but I know that this spreadsheet has helped us keep track of where our money is going and when it is leaving our bank account. If you already have a budget in place this can help you stick to it, or see what areas are throwing your budget off.
Here is the PDF: Bills, Bills, Bills
I left all the rows blank so you can completely personalize it to your household. No two households have identical bills. Here are a few suggestions on what to put in each column–use the ones that apply to you.
- Credit Card (MasterCard, Visa, etc. one line per credit card)
- Natural Gas
- Cell phones
- Student Loans
- Car Payment
- Cash from ATM
- Car Insurance
- Health Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Property Taxes
- Personal Tax
- Home Owner’s Insurance (or Renter’s)
I use this table to break down the things that we put on our credit cards. For me, this isn’t additional money that is being spent. I knew roughly the average that we spent at Walmart, per trip, but I wanted to know how much we spent each month.
- Walmart (and/or any grocery stores that you regularly shop: Aldi, Sam’s, etc.)
- Medical Expenses (such as co-pays or bills going toward your deductible)
I recommend printing one page at a time, then putting the same page back in your printer, so it’s front and back.
I hope this was helpful!
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